- How does Achebe characterize the District Commissioner and the colonial government? Be sure to include plenty of evidence from the text.
- Explain the significance of the last paragraph in the book
- Focus on comparing/contrasting Okonkwo’s entrance into Mbanta with his exit.
- Explain why Okonkwo is disappointed by his return to Umuofia
- Contrast Mr. Brown and Rev. Smith
- Explain how the missionaries gain a foothold in Umuofia
- Contrast Obierika’s second visit to Mbanta to his first.
- Explain the difficulties the white missionaries faced in trying to establish themselves in Mbanta
- In these chapters, what group is privileged? Who are “others”? Explain how you know using specific evidence from the text.
- What do you predict will happen to Okonkwo as a result of the tragedy he suffers in chapter 13? Be sure to include reasons for your predictions.
- How does Okonkwo show signs of grief in chapter 14? How does his uncle try to help him deal with his grief?
- The white missionaries are first mentioned in chapter 15. How does Obierika characterize the missionaries?
- How does Achebe further develop the character of Okonkwo in these chapters?
- How are the relationships between men and women portrayed in these chapters? Does this conflict with earlier representations in the novel?
- What aspects of marriage are highlighted in this section of the novel? Do you agree or disagree with the way marriages are formed in this society? Give specific details from the text to support your opinion
- Using specific details from the text, explain how Achebe displays the role of women in Ibo society.
- Explain how Achebe develops Okonkwo’s character in these chapters. What motivates this character? What causes both external and internal conflicts for Okonkwo? How does Okonkwo deal with these conflicts?
- How are the relationships of parents and children developed in these chapters? This is a key theme of the entire work so keep an eye out during the remainder of the novel.
- Focus on the development of Okonkwo’s character and how he fits into his society.
- Highlight the interactions between Okonkwo and his father.
- How are they similar? Different? What might cause these differences?
The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)
- Read the poem, then:
- Identify the theme of the poem. Be sure to give specific details from the text to support your thoughts.
- Looking at the first stanza, who/what might the falcon and the falconer represent?
- Why would “anarchy be loosed on the world”?
- How do you interpret the last two lines of the first stanza? How does your knowledge that this poem was written at the end of World War I influence your reading of the poem? Could this poem be applied to your lifetime? Explain why/why not using specific examples from your knowledge of your community/country/world today.
This cartoon was published in response to Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden” (1899)
Thoughts to consider for a response (apply post-colonialism to this!):
- What is the cartoon about? What groups are represented? How are they portrayed (give specific details to support your thoughts)?
- Who is given privilege? Who are the others? Give details to support your thoughts.
- Is there any way we can privilege the “other” groups? What does this do to your understanding of the cartoon? Explain a deeper understanding/new understanding of the cartoon in light of our discussion.
- What is post-colonialism?
- What are the major traits of this theory?
- Why is the concept of power important to the theory of post-colonialism?
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